For the second day running, Palestinian Authority security officers demonstrated in the Gaza Strip in protest against PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas's decision to reconstruct the dozen or so Palestinian security services. Thursday's protest turned violent when hundreds of officers belonging to the PA's Military Intelligence Force went on the rampage inside the Palestinian Legislative Council building and exchanged gunfire with policemen in Gaza City.This illustrates the incestuous nature of Palestinian politics and I could speculate that the real rationale behind Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas’ decision to integrate Hamas terrorists into the Palestinian security forces was to save himself from being ground down into puppy chow by his own Fatah forces.
On Wednesday, some 50 members of the same force blocked main roads and raided PA institutions in some parts of the Gaza Strip. PA officials in Ramallah accused the ousted commander of Military Intelligence, Gen. Musa Arafat, of standing behind the unrest. Gen. Arafat, a cousin of Yasser Arafat, was dismissed from his post two months ago. According to one official, Gen. Arafat has since been inciting his followers against the PA leadership. "He still hasn't come to terms with the fact that he was sacked," he added.
Eyewitnesses said at least 600 officers and masked gunmen belonging to the ruling Fatah party marched in the streets of Gaza City, chanting slogans against Abbas and his interior minister, Gen. Nasser Youssef. It was the largest protest of its kind organized by members of a Palestinian security force and Fatah gunmen since Abbas succeeded Yasser Arafat as PA chairman, the eyewitnesses noted. They added that the protests over the past 48 hours could mark the beginning of a mutiny against Abbas's administration. The protesters were carrying various types of weapons, including rifles, pistols hand grenades and rockets. Many of them opened fire into the air, shouting slogans condemning Youssef as a "traitor" and "collaborator." Local journalists said the attackers exchanged gunfire for more than an hour with policemen guarding the PLC compound. No casualties were reported.
As a Canadian taxpayer I have to give the Liberal Government credit for finding new ways internationally to throw $12.5 million in aid down the proverbial drain.
In other news guaranteed not to make any sane person sleep safer at night, NATO announced Tuesday that it has granted Official Observer status to Palestinian Authority personnel reports the Jerusalem Post:
This is a very important decision as for many years European countries have only heard the Israeli voice in these groupings. For peace to become a reality and agreements to be fully implemented, we need to be able to tell our side of the story too," said Hassan Khreisheh, the first deputy speaker of the Palestinian body and one of the two Palestinian delegates.What do you think the odds are that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will ask at least one Hamas member to join the Palestinian NATO delegation as a goodwill gesture?
According to a NATO press release, MK Joseph Paritzky welcomed the involvement of the Palestinians and other Arab states in the work of the Assembly, which is made up of 248 delegates from 26 member countries. "This shows that we belong to the parliament of the most important and biggest defense union of the world, and the decision is highly appreciated," Paritzky was quoted as saying.
NATO has been seeking to expand its role in the Middle East. During a recent visit to Israel by current President of the NATO PA, Pierre Lellouche, the issue of Palestinian observer status was raised. The decision to grant the Palestinians observer credentials did not catch Jerusalem off guard. Nevertheless, officials in Jerusalem were disappointed with the timing of the move. "Played at the right time it could have given the Palestinians the encouragement they needed to take steps against terrorist infrastructure which they have yet to take," said one official.
Jerusalem questioned whether this was the right time for NATO to be handing out carrots to the Palestinians. Observers believe that the move could also been seen as an offset to warming relations between NATO and Israel.